The UC Berkeley School of Public Health, in collaboration with the MIT Press, announced the launch of its new journal Rapid Reviews\Infectious Diseases, or RR\ID, Monday.
The journal is an evolution of Rapid Reviews\COVID-19, or RR\C19, which became the first open-access overlay journal to enhance formal peer reviews of COVID-19-related research, according to Hildy Fong Baker, managing director of RR\ID and executive director of the UC Berkeley Center for Global Public Health.
Baker said the journal will build on the work of RR\C19 and focus on three main domains: biological and chemical sciences, physical sciences and engineering, and public health and the humanities.
“The innovation of our journal is both the speed, transparency and rigor of finding peer reviews for cutting edge research and also in how we are doing it through the democratization and inclusion of academic communities and students from around the world,” Baker said in an email.
Noting the “avalanche” of research papers that were not peer reviewed at the start of the pandemic, Baker explained that RR\C19 worked to reduce circulation of false or misleading information about the virus and promote robust findings.
She said they hope to use the new journal RR\ID to expand the scope of their research to other infectious diseases, especially those prevalent in low- and middle-income countries, or LMIC.
“We built RR\C19 to be authoritative, fast, and flexible, and now RR\ID will adapt our open ‘curate, review, publish’ model for the advancement of infectious disease research throughout the world,” said Stefano Bertozzi, editor-in-chief of RR\ID and campus professor of health policy and management, in a press release.
The journal’s efforts to further a global understanding of diseases and emerging pandemics are backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Baker added.
With the foundation’s help, she said, the journal plans to expand its editorial team to include students and faculty from at least 12 new academic institutions from LMIC.
The journal is presently made up of scholars from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, campus departments such as Molecular and Cell Biology and Anthropology and a joint medical program with UC San Francisco.
She explained that since the journal’s inception, they have focused their attention on promoting inclusivity toward future scientists and public health scholars, noting the journal’s efforts to develop increased training and mentorship opportunities within RR\ID.
“We want to make the journey to being included in the academic publishing community more equitable (and affordable and accessible) for our colleagues doing important work in LMIC,” Baker said in the email. “We’re really excited about the potential we now have to connect these communities around advancing our understanding of infectious diseases.”